Mosquitoes in North Western Scarborough found carrying West Nile virus

A mosquito biting a persons skin
The West Nile virus is spread to humans through mosquitoes bites, taking two to 14 days to develop symptoms Photo by Jimmy Chan.
Owen Thompson - CJRU - TorontoON | 20-07-2023
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Toronto Public Health has discovered mosquitoes in Toronto that carry the West Nile virus this week.

During Toronto Public Health's weekly mosquito tests, they set up 22 traps across the city to check the diseases and illnesses that they carry. Of the 22 traps, one of the batches was found to have West Nile Virus.

The batch was found in Northwest Scarborough and is the first to be found to be positive for West Nile virus. Toronto Public Health says that risk of infection is low in Toronto. To lower the risk even further they recommend:

  •       Wear light-coloured clothing, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors.
  •       Apply insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  •       Take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours, dusk and dawn, by using repellent and covering up.
  •       Make sure homes have tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.
  •       Remove standing water from properties, where mosquitoes can breed. Standing water includes any water that collects in items such as pool covers, buckets, planters, toys and waste containers.

Last year, Toronto Public Health found 14 mosquito pools around Toronto with West Nile, with the discovery happening on Aug. 3, 2022. This year's batch was found 17 days earlier than last year.

“Anyone can be infected with West Nile virus, the chances of having a severe illness are greater as you get older or if you have a weakened immune system.,” says Toronto Public Health

Symptoms develop anywhere from two to 14 days after the initial bite. Toronto Public Health says symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. They say that “anyone concerned about symptoms should contact their health care provider.”

Toronto Public Health will continue to monitor the mosquito population incase of a spread of the virus to the rest of the city's mosquito population. Toronto Public Health monitors the population from mid-June till mid-September every year.

More information regarding West Nile Virus can be found on the Toronto city website.

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